Welcome to London West End WI

Monday, 9 November 2009

November 17th Annual General Meeting & Mexican evening social

Members & Visitors - please come & be part of our essential AGM, it's only once a year and a great opportunity to find out about WI local politics.

This year we are in the happy position of having new volunteers for the officer roles. So what happens at the AGM - The entire committee retires and the members elect a new committee and President. The current officers President Carrie Graham & Treasurer Helena Roden & Secretary Heather Willensky are retiring from these officer roles after a two year stint. Many of the existing committee are willing to continue and take on the officer roles if re-elected to the committee. A very positive state of affairs! This is great news for our WI. There is room for more members to join the committee......

If you are a member of our WI and would like to volunteer for the committee or take on a non committee helping role then please do email Carrie via londonwestendwi@googlemail.com if you would like to talk it over before saying Yes.

Also if you are a new member and not sure about taking on a role, then you might like to shadow or assist a committee member during this next year to find out more.

After all this business we will be making alcoholic & non alcoholic margheritas at our Mexican themed social, so bring something with a Mexican theme ... not swine flu please.

October's Knitting Tea Party

This was an outstanding success with members & visitors. Long time knitters, new knitters & reluctant knitters were inspired to give it a go. Close on 30 women knitting & a couple of crocheters (?) spent the evening knitting, exchanging tips and making new connections through knitting.

Remember to bring your knitting to the AGM if you need help, it's a mexican theme night so knitted ponchos & somberos welcome.

Thank you to Heather & helpers for organising this event

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Knitting Tea Party 20th October

By request of our members we will be hosting a knitting tea party. Inviting our members and visitors who want to share their knitting skills, learn to knit or brush up on their knitting skills. As we need to plan for the session do let us know if you would like to come along, if you have wool & needles then bring them with you or tell us you need them... we will provide!
Email Heather via londonwestendwi@googlemail.com to tell her you want to join in. There will be a small charge for visitors to cover needles & wool upto £5(or join up that night £29 for 15 months membership).

Brings nibbles to share

We are at our usual venue of the Upper Vestry Hall at St George's Bloomsbury, use Little Russell St entrance only

Beer Tasting - 15th Sept

We tasted 10 beers from UK, Europe & US complemented with cheese and bitter chocalate. Wonderful.

Thank you to Lindsey & Heather for bringing enlightenment to our beer tasting taste buds

Monday, 31 August 2009

September - Beer Tasting

Two of our members are tried & tested beer tasters and will be leading a beer tasting session for us on 15th September. Lindsey & Heather will be guiding us through sampling the beer...(they also hosted last year's wine tasting... a very sociable session between the sips, sniffs & twirling of wine glasses) Please bring nibbles to share.

Members are welcome to bring guests and please let us know if you plan to do this. There will be a small charge for visitors & guests tbc but max'm £3pp
We welcome new members or visitors wanting to find out more about our Women's Institute before taking the plunge and signing up.

Do please email us on londonwestendwi@googlemail.com at least 48 hours before the meeting or phone Carrie 07789954972 if you would like to come along to a Tuesday meeting.

WI campaigns & Resolutions

The August speaker was the Marianne Sladowsky Head of Public Affairs at the National Federation of WIs. Marianne spoke about the NFWIs current campaigns which include Stop Violence against Women & SOS for Bees. She also encouraged us to put forward resolutions as a WI or for individual members to put forward resolutions that they would like to be considered. Her advise on a resolution was keep it simple and be aware of other similar resolutions that have already gone through. We floated ideas on resolutions for in connection with prostitution/criminal record checks ( at the moment women with a prostitution conviction are treated like sex offenders and are excluded from many jobs preventing them from making a fresh start and resolutions on the negative impact of the medias obsession with body image & dieting. So get your thinking caps on... would you like to put forward a resolution to the NFWI. Members are invited to get together to craft the wording. The closing date is the Friday 18th Sept so you would need to have it in the post by 14th to be sure of entry. Get in touch with Carrie if you want to know how to do this... members only!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Recipes from our Jam Expert Claude

Hello everyone!
After June's very successful jam-making session, we've had quite a few requests for some of the recipes, which our jam-master Claude has graciously provided us with. So! Without further ado...

Microwave Lemon Curd Recipe

This is close to the curd recipe I follow but I put less egg in as I am not an egg lover.

4 lemons, rind and juice
4 eggs
110g/4oz butter
450g/1lb sugar

  1. Grate rind of lemons and squeeze out juice.
  2. Put sugar, rind and juice, butter and beaten eggs into a large microeaveable bowl.
  3. Microwave for about 10 minutesStir with a wooden spoon until thick and curd coats the back of the spoon.If very runny microwave again for another 5 minutes
  4. Stop and stirIf very runny microwave again for another 5 minutes
  5. When it coats the back of the spoon and is not excessively runny we are done!


Label jar with date and jam variety.Store somewhere dark and really cool (fridge ideally). Should be good for about 2-6 months depending on storage conditions. Once opened keep in fridge, should be good for about 4+ weeks.


I like it less "eggy" so use 2-3 eggs instead and 2-3 large lemons. If lemons are small use at least 4 of them. If its not setting keep lemon shells and pop them in bowl while microwaving. They contain pectin which will help it set. Remember to take them out before trying to pot curd. If your eggs curdle/go start to scramble then strain them through a sieve. If you don't have a microwave you can follow recipe but go through the whole process using a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.

Strawberry Jam


1 KG Jam sugar with added pectin by Silver spoon (its in a red and white packet and costs about £1.30)

800+g of soft fruit (fresh or frozen fruit)

small knob of butter

This recipe takes about 20-30mins all in and can be made with raspberries or summer fruits. Also works equally well with frozen fruit.

Get about 800g of soft fruit if fresh wash the fruit and remove stalks where necessary.

NB If using frozen fruit do not wash


  1. Put in a bowl that can go in the micowave.
  2. Mash it a bit with a masher/forkCook on high for about 7 mins in microwave
  3. Add sugar and a small knob of butter, stir it a little so sugar and fruit begin to mingle.
  4. Cook on high again for about 8 minutes
  5. Stop it and stir.
  6. Cook on high again for another 8 minutes
  7. Check to see if it looks like its boiling vigourously. If its not give it an additional 2-4 minutes.
  8. When its absolutely piping take out of microwave and set aside for a short time.

Sterilising jam jars:

Please be careful as this will be really really hot.

  1. Take your clean jam jars. Pop some water in maybe halfway up the glass.
  2. Microwave for about 1-2 minutes until its hot.
  3. Empty out water and then dispense jam into jars.Please be careful when doing this, I use a ladle and a funnel.
  4. Seal whilst still hot (if you can get the jam jar wax discs use these under the lids)
  5. StorageLabel jar with date and jam variety.
  6. Store somewhere dark and cool.

Should be good for about 2-6 months depending on storage conditions. Once opened keep in fridge, should be good for about 4+ weeks.

Top Tips

Have a little extra sugar to hand that you can add to the mixture if its not setting (any type will do). Do this just incase the fruit is very watery otherwise you will spend ages trying to boil off the excess liquid. This sets very well normally.If you want larger chunks of strawberry in your jam then mash the fruit less.

Monday, 3 August 2009

WI campaign Stop Violence against Women

The National Federation of Women's Institutes are supporting a campaign to stop violence against women and locally our contribution has been to support a local charity Women@thewell . Last February we had an inspirational talk from Lynda Dearlove who came to talk about the charity's work supporting vulnerable women caught in cycles of abuse & social exclusion. Since then members of our WI have raised money, baked cakes, provided mentoring, helped at the drop in centre, collected clothes & shoes to support these women.

Based close to King's Cross Station, this charity is aims to equip these vulnerable women with the skills, resources and support they need to rejoin society. If you would like to help or support the work of this organisation and help these women change their lives for the better then here are some suggestions

  • Make a donation
  • Donate time
  • Donate specialised skills or services
  • Donate goods such as food, clothing, equiment
  • Tell other people about this organisation

Please contact Women@thewell 020 7520 1710 or email info@watw.org.uk

London West End WI @ The Brunswick Centre

Saturday 1st August found us at the Brunswick Centre who very kindly offered us a stall to offer cakes and meet local people with a view to signing them up. We take the view that man or woman ... you may know a woman who would be interested in joining us.

As usual WI bakers had stayed up late & got up early to get cakes prepared. We had an outstanding stall, raised some funds and met lots of local women. Our helpers include Sue, Sharon, Jane, Claude, Kate & Carrie. As usual Claude's jams were very popular... chilli jam and lemon curd flew off the shelf! Thank you to all our helpers who gave up a precious day off to help out.

We even had a visit from the local Food Safety man who offered helpful advice on seeing Carrie's Strawberry clotted cream scones (sell them or eat them within 4 hours) we did help this along by eating a few and (reluctantly) sold the rest.

We had a small display about our Womens Institute and the WI campaigns including SOS for Bees and Stop Violence against Women ( see www.womensinstitute.org.uk)

Monday, 27 July 2009

August WI Meeting - The WI's campaigning history

Tuesday 18th August @ 6.30pm at Upper Vestry Hall, St George's Church Bloomsbury, Little Russell St (between Bury St & Museum St). Very close to the British Museum

Come along to this presentation from our friends at the National Federation of Women's Institutes and find out more about the Womens Institute's rich history of campaigns - more than 90 years worth. We think you will be amazed at the influencing power of the WI and just how it has improved women's rights and day to day life.

Visitors are welcome (women only... sorry gents!) at the monthly meetings and we don't make a charge the first time you come along though donations are welcomed.
Vistors - please email or phone before you come to let us know. Email at least 24hrs before the event.

Email:londonwestendwi@googlemail.com or phone Carrie 07789954972.

Finding the meeting place: Use the Little Russell St entrance only. Its the rear entrance to the Church so look for iron railings, go through the gate and up the steps on the RHS into the Upper Vestry Hall.
Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road/ Holborn then 5 mins walk.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Tuesday 21 July - Garden Party

The London West End WI are holding their annual Garden Party at 6.30pm on 21st July, this year we hope to be outdoors. In our first year 06 we managed an outdoor Garden Party since then we've been indoors every year so we hope this year it will be different. The Garden Party is an opportunity to relax, unwind and talk with fellow members. Dress... come as you are ( we know many women are coming straight from work) & bring warm layers in case of a cool evening!

Members are asked to bring food & drink to share (modest amounts... as there is always plenty). We meet at The Upper Vestry Hall, St Georges' Bloomsbury and hope to be outdoors in the courtyard weather & clergy permitting.

Many of our members live or work locally to Holborn/Tottenham Court Road/Covent Garden areas. If you would like to come along to meet us on any of the monthly meetings then please email londonwestendwi@googlemail.com or phone Carrie on 07789954972 for a chat.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Persephone Press at Our May Meeting

This month we'll be meeting on Tuesday the 19th, where Genevieve and Lydia from Persephone press will be coming to tell us all about their work publishing out of print fiction and non-fiction written by women. Amongst other titles, Persephone Press has recently reprinted "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day", which is soon to be made into a film.

On Sunday May 10th, we'll be participating in the Bloomsbury Flower Festival, where we'll have a cake stall in the Upper Vestry Hall of St.George's from 2-5PM. If you'd like to either bake or vend, please contact Helena at helena.roden@o2.co.uk

Monday, 20 April 2009

Aromatherapy Meeting, April 21st!


This month we'll be given a talk/session tited AROMATHERAPY, A - Z - safe applications of essential oils by Anna Cox, an holistic complementary therapist based in Herne Hill, SE London, who has been giving treatments for the past 13 years from her home practice. Anna has vast experience and expertise in many complementary therapies including Aromatherapy. She makes her own natural products such as creams, lotions, ointments, shampoo and conditioners using a variety of therapeutic ingredients including essential and vegetable oils, sea weed, aloe vera, clay and pure salt. She also adds flower essences where appropriate.

It will be an interactive talk , therefore be prepared to experience some of the pleasures of Aromatherapy. Notes will be provided. Questions at the end.

Anna will bring some of her products with her in case anyone wants to stock up. Prices start from £12ish. And if anyone decides they want a treatment with her the number 68 Bus from Holborn will take you close to where she practises in Herne Hill.

Just a reminder - Membership dues are due this month - £29 pounds for anyone who's not yet paid up. Next month we'll be hearing from the ladies who run Persephone Press. Looking forward to seeing you all!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

March Meeting

hello ladies!

We have an exciting few months of activities planned over the next few months! This month, on Tuesday the 17th, we'll be learning about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and we'll be learning some exercises to better our mental, emotional and physical states of well being.

Looking into the future, in April we'll be learning about the benefits of Aromatherapy, In May we'll be visited by the founders of Persephone Press, in July we'll be having our annual garden party (and hopefully we'll be graced with better weather than the last three summers!), in August we'll be talking about campaigning opportunities, and in September we'll be having a beer tasting.

As always, we meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 in the Upper Vestry Room of St. George's in Bloomsbury, entrance on Little Russell Street. We looking forward to seeing you!